Tuesday, December 30, 2008

PTSD Healing: Gearing up for CHANGE

The best way to make a Big Change (like becoming PTSD-free) is to start with Small Change. For example, today I cut off my hair. It was, until a few minutes ago, down below my shoulder blades. Now, it’s just below my ears. It’s a small change in the overall Scheme of Me, but it sure creates a different look! (For those of you wondering, I am not a professional hair stylist. I’m just a chick with scissors, and curly hair, which helps when I make a mistake.) The impulsive way I decided to chop off my hair is very much the same impulsive way I healed my PTSD – I made the decision I would be free, and then hacked away at the problem until I finally found relief.

As you gear up to change your PTSD experience, what small changes can you make in other areas to support your ‘Time to Change’ perspective? What detail(s) about your external look can you change as a way to stimulate the internal change you seek? What schedule, habit or lifestyle changes can you put in place to kick off the Time to Change theme of 2009?

For example, think about what clothing you can eliminate and/or replace. What cologne to get rid of or try. What routine you can rearrange. One of my friends is about to pick up his study of Tae Kwon Do again. One of my dance friends just dyed her hair from brown to shocking blonde. A few months ago another one went from blonde to red. If we get in the spirit of change in these small ways our subconscious is geared to the change mindset, which encourages it in the right direction for the larger issues.

It’s time to psych yourself up for change. In addition to the actions you might try, take a look at this ‘Psych Yourself up for Success’ article, which talks about attitude adjustment for change. Interpret its ideas in terms of PTSD.

Doubt that you can change? Locate yourself on this Stages of Change outline by Dr. Linda Sapadin. If you’re not in the ‘Commitment to Change’ stage, ask yourself why. Do some soul searching today to figure out what’s holding you back. Start the Big Change by changing a negative belief from doubt to faith. You can do it. People change behaviors all the time. The only thing that’s different about us PTSDers is that we have to rout out experience and memory in order for the full change to become permanent. No sweat, no problem; piece of cake, we have a plan. We have support. But before any of that helps, we need to commit.

If you think maybe a little guided exercise would help shore up your focus, this ‘How To Change Your Behavior Patterns: Completing Your New Year's Resolutions’ article offers a great outline for understanding ourselves, our motivations and consequent behavior. Once we recognize all of this, change is easier to plan, implement and execute. We have to know ourselves – not just the pain but what’s behind it, what’s motivating all of our PTSD symptoms; not just the overall traumatic experience but how it’s impacting us on every minute, daily level.

OK, so my hair is short and bouncy and I’m ready for change in 2009. Being healed from PTSD doesn’t mean I’ve given up working to refocus, redefine and reclaim my life. It’s all a process. I have lots of lost time to make up! What are you waiting for???

(Photo: Staffelfuxhund Alex)

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